Toward the end of her 9th grade, Z transferred to a very (very) small school in Gaylord. St. Mary Cathedral School. She was in love. Maybe not on her first day, but for sure by the end of the year. She went from a class of nearly 400 to a class of 17. She was in her element. She immediately picked up friends, got involved in everything, challenged all of the rules she thought she could get away with breaking, and generally spent her time being loud, fun, assertive, and happy. She was so happy there.
As soon as she started, she dropped herself into the archery team. She competed on the team for 4 years and proved to be a steady aim and straight shooter. She consistently did well and loved all of it. Even if she did occasionally insert high school drama into her narrative.
We are not an athletic people. Z had tried sports before. In 8th grade she was on the girls track team and performed so poorly that one time the next race was set up while she was still running the previous race. But Archery? She took to that like peanut butter to jelly. We never knew why it clicked, but it did.
At the conclusion of her first season she made me purchase a new competition bow since she’d been borrowing a team bow. She picked out bright pink. She never shot it. Even once. She ended up in love with the team bow and used that for the next three years.
For as little time as she spent actually practicing, she was remarkably good. She wasn’t amazing. There were most likely no Olympics in her future, but she was good enough that she was on the “A” team that always finished national competitions ranking extriemly high. Especially considering most of the competing schools had archery teams as big as the entire student body of her school.
She’d found an archery club in Detroit so she wouldn’t have to give it up when she started college. She loved to shoot.
When she was shooting, she was with her people.
The archery team wore their uniform shirts to her funeral.
Tonight her coach sent me a picture. There was an adjustment made to the archery records board in the school gym. Obviously, my allergies kicked in.
St. Mary Archery / In memory of Isabella “Izzy” Williams. She is permanently with her people.
I’ve mentioned before that Z passed away on my late husband’s birthday.
August 16th is also her coach’s birthday.
Being part of the perfect team is 5 stars. Would recommend every time.